Is Christian Revival rebellious and manipulative?
Revival is a common topic among all Christians and churches. But what do we as Christians really mean when we talk about revival? Most churches and Christians describe revival in terms of experience. We want to experience the presence of God, we want to feel closer to God, we want His ways to become ours, we want more of God, we want His supernatural happenings to permeate our existence, and so we embark on this process called Revival.
Almost every church and Christian embarks on the road to Revival in the same manner. A survey of other churches who have or are currently experiencing revival is done to see how to go about it. Take a look at the Brownsville AG revival in FL, the Toronto Airport Fellowship, Kansas City, and most recently Bill Johnon’s Bethel church in Redding CA. All of these places have experienced increased salvation’s, healings, miracles, signs and wonders, people coming from all over to experience God. All of these places have emphasized 3 common principles. 1. A call and head to repentance, 2. A call to extended worship and praise, 3. A call and head to extended fasting, prayer, and seeking God. It appears that God has come to these places after people have done these common things. And so, churches embark on a similar road to Revival.
But, the question I ask is this, Is seeking God’s presence in this way rebellious and manipulative behavior for Christians to engage in? How could I even think so, some of you are asking, but please do hear me out as you may be surprised at what the Word has to say.
The position that Christian Revival is approached from, as seen above, seems to be in direct opposition to the Word. The position describe above is one that puts Christians and Churches in a place far from God. Most Christians and Churches seek God and Revival because they feel far away from God, they don’t sense His presence, His work, His Life, His ways, active in their present lives or community. This position is what almost always precedes the decision to embark on the road to Revival.
However, the Word stands starkly in contrast to this position.
9For in Him the whole fullness of Deity (the Godhead) continues to dwell in bodily form [giving complete expression of the divine nature]. 10And you [f]are in Him, made full and having come to fullness of life [in Christ you too are filled with the Godhead–Father, Son and Holy Spirit–and reach full spiritual stature]. And He is the Head of all rule and authority [of every angelic principality and power].
1 John 2:20
But you are not like that, for the Holy One has given you his Spirit, and all of you know the truth.
1 John 2:27
But as for you, the anointing (the sacred appointment, the unction) which you received from Him abides [ permanently] in you;
1 Corinthians 6:19
Do you not know that your body is the temple (the very sanctuary) of the Holy Spirit Who lives within you, Whom you have received [as a Gift] from God? You are not your own,
These 4 passages indicate that we have the fullness of the Godhead, the very living Spirit of the Deity abiding and dwelling right inside of us. So, to start from a position that is far away from God, needing to pursue Him to get Him to come closer is directly in contrast to what the Word says about our condition and relation to God.
2 Corinthians 6:1
We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.
VAIN = ke-no’s – destitute of spiritual wealth, of one who boasts of his faith as a transcendent
possession, yet is without the fruits of faith
TRANSCENDENT = Lying beyond the ordinary range of perception
Paul is saying do not look at the saving grace of God, our faith, His spiritually wealthy presence, as though it is some transcendent possession lying beyond the ordinary range of perception. Don’t look at God’s presence inside of us as though it is afar off and that we need more of Him, that we are spiritually destitute.
The fact that most Christians and Churches approach Revival from this position of spiritual destitution and place of His presence being out of our range of perception is in disagreement with the words of the bible. When we come into disagreement with the words of the bible, we step into rebellion from God. When we try to do things to get God to approach us we step into manipulation.
Now, I have no doubt that Christians and Churches want to “experience” more of God, more of His Spirit doing the things the bible says the Spirit does. That is not a wrong desire, but going about it from the position above is not the will, desire, nor heart of God the Father. It is manipulative on our part to think that we must do anything to get more of Him. It is rebellious to think He is not fully present and available to us. Well, it seemed to work for these other churches so it can’t be rebellious and manipulative as I indicate….
2 Timothy 2:13
If we are faithless [do not believe and are untrue to Him], He remains true (faithful to His Word and His righteous character), for He cannot deny Himself.
God will honor our petitions, seekings, and praise, because He is a loving, gracious, and merciful Father; despite it being rebellious and manipulative on our part. His will, desire, and longing of heart is that we acknowledge all the things in us that are from Christ(Philemon 1:6). The heart of the Father is that we as his children acknowledge and accept that His presence is within us and for us to deny the lies of the devil that come through our senses that say He is not close. God desires for us to recognize and exercise faith that the full spiritual stature of the Godhead exists in us so that He can work through us to accomplish His good pleasures(Philippians 2:13). His heart is that we become partakers of His divine nature(2 Peter 1:4).
Do you see that? The action is on our part not His. The action is not Him coming to us, He has already done that for He lives inside of us! The action is our responsibility to acknowledge and recognize the truth of His word and act as if the place the Word puts us is in fact true and can be experienced. When we do that while we don’t “Feel” or “Sense” it to be true, we are operating in Faith! It is a faithful position to not feel like He is there but to act as though He is. When we do this, when we acknowledge his full presence and start acting as though His power is right here at hand for whatever task, when we start to believe and act as though we are close to Him and can do the things He says we can, we are in Faith and He desires to meet our work of faith with power(2 Thessalonians 1:11). When we start doing this, we are IN Revival. Miracles, signs and wonders will follow, and that gives us reason to thank and praise Him with worship.
Abide in Christ, it is a place of Revival!